National Public Health Week 2016
Americans are living 20 years longer than their grandparents’ generation, thanks largely to the work of public health. Still, people in many other high income countries live longer and suffer fewer health issues than we do. This is the defining challenge of our generation – a challenge that we, the public health community, are uniquely positioned to help overcome.
During National Public Health Week 2016, the public health community is rallying around a goal of making the U.S. the Healthiest Nation in One Generation — by 2030.
Healthy Gallatin invites you to join us in celebrating National Public Health Week, April 4-10th 2016. National Public Health Week is a time to focus on public health issues with the intention of increasing awareness and broadening the public’s understanding of preventative actions to improve or protect their health. Click through the tabs below to see some of our different efforts to show the reach of public health, and how public health is being applied in Gallatin County. (PS – we’re only hitting the tip of the iceberg here, so be sure to check out the rest of the healthygallatin.org website to learn more!)
Build a nation of safe, healthy communities
The home and neighborhood you live in can impact your health and your opportunity to engage in healthy behaviors. At Gallatin City-County Health Department, our vision is Healthy People Living in Health Communities. Read through the information below to find out how we are working towards promoting health and safety in Gallatin County homes and neighborhoods.
Tobacco Use and Prevention
Tobacco control programs play a crucial role in the prevention of many chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and respiratory illness. Comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation programs, like Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program (MTUPP), prevent kids from starting tobacco use and help current tobacco users quit. They also play an important role in educating community leaders to reduce use, address disparities, and counter the ever present tobacco industry. Unfortunately, the tobacco use epidemic in Gallatin County is far from over.
Did you know?? Tobacco use is the single greatest cause of preventable death and disease in Montana.
According to the 2014 Community Health Assessment of Gallatin, Madison, and Park Counties, there are stark health disparities among our local populations:
- Over 1 in 4 women of childbearing age are current smokers; adversely affecting maternal and child health outcomes.
- 1/3 of those living below 200% of the federal poverty level smoke. In today’s rapidly evolving tobacco marketplace, coupled with aggressive marketing tactics, there is an increase in youth use of novel products like e-cigarettes. This means the progress we have made in reducing youth cigarette smoking rates is being threatened. According to the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2015)
- Over half of all Montana high school students have used e-cigarettes.
- In 12 and 13 year old children, we see nearly 1 in 5 (19.1%) having tried the products.
- Current e-cigarette use by youth has surpassed current use of every other tobacco product overall, including conventional cigarettes.
Healthy Gallatin works with community partners like our local housing authority, to address second-hand smoke exposure in multifamily housing complexes. We also engage local youth in projects intended to reduce tobacco use initiation among their peers. We work hard to connect current tobacco users, specifically focusing on our most vulnerable populations, like pregnant women and those with mental illness, to proven resources like the Montana Quit Line that can help them quit.
There are many opportunities to turn up the heat on commercial tobaccos’ hold on public health and to re-commit to policies that save lives and taxpayer dollars currently spent on tobacco-related health care costs and lost productivity. To receive updates on Healthy Gallatin’s Chronic Disease Prevention Programs, sign up for our newsletter – simply enter your email address in the field under “Connect with Us” at the bottom of this page!
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevention Status Reports 2013: Tobacco Use—Montana. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.
 Community Health Needs Assessment of Gallatin, Madison, and Park Counties, Professional Research Consultants, 2014.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates there are 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year due to radon exposure. The Gallatin County Health Department sells short and long term radon testing kits. Short term testing can indicate if you have radon in your home, long term testing can give you a better overall reading. Short term kits are $12 and take 2-4 days. Long term kits are $20 and test for 1 month to a year. Call 582-3120 for more information!
Smoke Free Environments
In 2005, the Montana legislature passed the Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA), one of the most important public health policies in state history. Laws like the CIAA reduce heart attack rates by at least 20 percent. They also reduce lung disease, including lung cancer, as well as other debilitating and fatal illnesses, and they protect unborn children and young children from health problems.
The law requires all enclosed public places and workplaces to be smoke-free, and also requires businesses to prominently place smoke-free signs on all public entrances. The rules that the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services have adopted can be found here.
The health benefits of the CIAA are three-fold:
Patrons and workers alike are protected from the deadly health effects of secondhand smoke exposure.
More people who smoke will try to quit.
Fewer Montana youth will begin smoking.
Lead Poisoning Prevention
Young children are at the greatest risk of health problems related to lead exposure. Long-term exposure to lead in young children can cause reduced IQ and attention span, learning disabilities, developmental delays, and a range of other health and behavioral effects. No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Lead poisoning is preventable if the source of lead is removed from a child’s environment. Common sources of lead include lead dust, lead-based paint, soil, food, water, folk medicine, candy, and imported pottery.
Gallatin City-County Health Department follows up on cases of lead poisoning in young children in Gallatin County by inspecting homes, and helping to coordinate referrals to community resources including WIC , the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. Periodic testing, good nutrition, and removal of any sources of lead can all help prevent lead poisoning.
For more information, please email EHS@gallatin.mt.com
For Homeowners and Contractors:
Many cases of lead exposure in young children result from eating lead-based paint chips. Although lead paint was banned in 1978, it still remains on the walls and woodwork of many older homes or apartments.
Home remodeling projects, like sanding, create harmful dust. To protect children and families from swallowing or breathing lead dust or paint chips, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that contractors are trained by the EPA to follow lead-safe work practices if they work on projects that disturb paint in homes, child care facilities and preschools built before 1978. This requirement is known as the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule.
For more information on the rule, or to find a lead-safe contractor near you, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/lead
Homeowners who want to protect their family during home renovation projects can download a free brochure from the Environmental Protection Agency for tips on lead-safe renovation practices.
Gallatin County Health Department does not provide lead testing in homes. Click here to find a company that does in-home lead testing.
For Healthcare Providers:
Lead poisoning cases in Montana must be reported. For recommendations and testing guidelines, please visit the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.
Safeguard your home, especially if you have children. Gallatin County Health Department offers free gun locks. Simply stop in and pick up as many as you need.
The relationship between increased economic mobility and better health
The science is clear: poverty and poor health go hand-in-hand. It’s time to do something about the growing income inequality and the unhealthy stresses it places on adults and children. Consider some of these statistics from our latest Community Health Assessment:
Community Health Needs Assessment of Gallatin, Madison, and Park Counties, Professional Research Consultants, 2014.
Healthy Gallatin offers several programs that help empower individuals and families to increase their economic mobility and promote better health:
Lactation Education Program
- One of the goals of the Lactation Education Program is to work with local employers across southwest Montana to provide a supportive and inclusive environment for breastfeeding mothers to pump when they return to work. Many employers don’t realize how important it is to have a dedicated and clean space for breastfeeding employees. New mothers should never have to choose between breastfeeding and continuing to work. For more information, call 582-3182.
- Healthy Gallatin Home Visiting is a support network for families that provides education, parenting resources, tips on making healthy lifestyle changes, and referrals to services available in our community. Through one-on-one visits, you can build a trusted relationship, get prenatal and parenting support, and have your questions answered to better prepare you for successful parenthood. Home visitation offers developmental screenings for babies, as well as depression screenings for post-partum mothers. Our nurses and social workers help connect families to resources such as WIC, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), the MT Tobacco Quit Line, health care providers, affordable housing, and many other community resources.
Father Engagement Program
- The Healthy Gallatin Father Engagement Program is a home visitation program for men with children from prenatal up to age five. This program provides developmental screenings, along with information on a wide variety of parenting and fatherhood issues. This program offers one-on-one support for new, soon-to-be, or experienced fathers, with an emphasis on service navigation and the importance of dads helping raise kids.
For more information, call 582-3100 or visit Healthy Gallatin Home Visiting.
Give everyone a choice of healthy food
Healthy eating is important at any age, but the food on a young person’s plate can change their health and growth for life. Yet, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows most U.S. youth don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables or whole grains, with many exceeding the recommended maximum daily intake of sodium and sugar. Data from the 2014 Community Health Assessment shows that only 38.6% of residents in Gallatin, Park, and Madison counties consume five or more servings of fruits/vegetables per day. This percentage is even lower for men (35.0%) and lower still for adults living below 200% FPL (32.1%). Thankfully, there are evidence-based fixes to help get families to eat healthier.
Here are just a few ways that we’re working to promote healthy food and nutrition in Gallatin County:
Healthy Gallatin WIC (Women, Infants and Children) serves all families, (women and men with children, single or two-parent families, teen parents, foster parents, grandparents and relatives with custody, and those with kinship care) by providing valuable nutrition and health information, breastfeeding support, health care referrals, and free vouchers for the purchase of certain nutritious foods. WIC helps pregnant/parenting women and families with children ages 0-5 learn how to make healthy, lifelong nutrition and lifestyle choices. Eligibility is determined by nutritional need and income criteria.
Willow Comes to WIC! To make nutrition fun, Willow the bunny introduces kids to new fruits and vegetables. Each month focuses on different seasonal and healthy produce and shows families how to prepare simple, delicious meals. Kids are encouraged to touch, smell and taste the food in hopes that if they interact with food using all of their senses, they are more likely to eat and enjoy them in the future.
To learn more about the WIC program, call 582-3115 or visit Healthy Gallatin WIC.
Farmer’s Markets – Gallatin County is fortunate to have numerous farmers’ markets year-round. Bozeman offers a farmer’s market in Bogart Park on Tuesdays and at the fairgrounds on Saturdays during the summer months, as well as a winter farmer’s market throughout the cold season. Big Sky, Belgrade, and Three Forks also have summer farmer’s markets. Fresh, local food is also sold at select grocery stores throughout the area. In addition, Healthy Gallatin WIC partners with local farmers to offer local food to recipients.
Farm to School Program – The Farm to School Program in Gallatin Valley continues to grow and incorporate local, healthy food into the school system. In addition to putting healthy food on the menu, the organization works to include classroom education and activities to increase the depth and breadth of knowledge that area school children have about where their food comes from, the importance of local agriculture and healthy food choices. To get involved, visit www.gvfarmtoschool.org.
Gallatin Valley Food Bank is part of HRDC’s Food & Nutrition Initiative. The food bank works to improve food security throughout southwest Montana, with locations in Bozeman, Three Forks, Big Sky, and pop-up service in Belgrade on Saturdays. Click here for more information.
Community Café (also part of HRDC’s Food & Nutrition Initiative), is a pay-what-you can model restaurant that serves nutritious, family-friendly meals 5-7pm, 7 days a week, 365 days a year! Learn more at cafebozeman.org
Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) Based on data from the 2014 Community Health Assessment, nutrition and physical activity was identified as an area of opportunity for our community. A coalition of stakeholders, partners, and community members has been formed and has been meeting on a regular basis for the past several months. This group has been working on a plan to identify and overcome barriers that exist in terms of accessing affordable healthy food and meeting daily physical activity recommendations. Stay tuned for more information as the work of this coalition develops!
Preparing for the health effects of climate change
Climate change and extreme weather events are threatening our health today, and if left unaddressed, will lead to increases in disease, injury and death. Immediate action can and must be taken to minimize the adverse health impacts of climate change and equip public health workers with the tools to protect our communities from negative health outcomes.
Climate change raises major public health concerns:
1. Warmer weather exacerbates the risks of strokes, heart attacks, asthma attacks, and the spread of mosquito- and tick-borne diseases such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease. These risks are especially harmful for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children and people already living with chronic disease. Between 1999 and 2009, extreme heat exposure caused nearly 8,000 U.S. deaths and it’s only getting hotter. The World Meteorological Organization recently reported that 2011-2015 was the hottest five-year period on record.2
2. Changing climate also intensifies weather-related disasters like wildfires and floods that threaten public safety. Sadly, the health dangers of extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy don’t stop when the storm ends. Sandy killed 113 people and in its aftermath, countless more people lived in unhealthy conditions and suffered from mental health repercussions like anxiety and PTSD.
3. Climate change increases our exposure to harmful pollutants. Increased ground-level ozone is associated with impaired lung function as well as increased emergency room visits and hospital admissions for asthma. In addition, more frequent and intense wildfires can increase particulate matter exposure, which is linked with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and respiratory illness. 4
Montana Asthma Program (MAP)
- A home visiting program for ages 0-17 years with a current asthma diagnosis. The program provides six home visits a year by an RN that provides asthma education, help identifying and mitigating triggers in the environment, help managing medications and referrals to medical and community resources. For information call (406) 582-3104.
- The Public Health Emergency Preparedness program (PHEP) prepares the Health Department to respond to public health emergencies and works with a wide array of community partners to plan for these emergencies. For information call (406) 582-3186.
Environmental Health Services
- Health Department staff can provide assistance and resources to the public and other agencies on issues related to environmental health including solid waste complaints, air and water quality, failing on-site septic systems, food borne illness or other public health concerns. To contact EHS, call 582-3120.
- Headwaters Economics is an independent, non-profit research group that works to improve community development and land management decisions. They provide original and effective research to people and organizations that make a difference. The information is intended to be a credible resource for community leaders, landowners, public land managers, elected officials and business owners to support them in making better decisions for natural resources management and community development. Headwaters Economics
Provide quality health care for everyone
The U.S. is home to some of the best medical care in the world. However, having the best medical care doesn’t automatically translate into having the healthiest people. In fact, in 2012, the Institute of Medicine reported that “the current generation of children and young adults in the United States could become the first generation to experience shorter life spans and fewer healthy years of life than those of their parents.”1 To live up to our nation’s health potential, there are three important system changes we must address.
1) More Americans need health insurance. The Affordable Care Act has brought health insurance to nearly 18 million more Americans.2 That’s amazing progress. However, we still have more to do — today, more than one in 10 people remain uninsured.3
Montanans now have access to affordable health insurance plans through the Health and Economic Livelihood Program (HELP.) The program is more than just healthcare; it’s designed to improve the economic prospects for those enrolled. Therefore, the plan also includes dental, vision care and transportation. For those enrolled in Medicaid, the bill also helps develop new skills and find work.
To be eligible, you must be 19-64 years old, a Montana resident not enrolled or qualified for Medicare and must not be pregnant when applying. Income requirements are $16,000 per year for a single person or $33,000 for a family of four.
The Gallatin City-County Health Department provides patient navigation services to clients of the Health Department. We offer assistance in navigating the health care system to access timely and appropriate services. Our Certified Application Counselor assists people who want to enroll in health insurance through the Healthcare Marketplace and Medicaid. For assistance, go to http://healthygallatin.org/blog/open-enrollment-2016/
For more information go to: http://dphhs.mt.gov/medicaidexpansion
For eligibility and tax credit information go to the Get Covered Calculator
Check out Frequently Asked Questions about Open Enrollment here or go to: http://healthygallatin.org/healthy-people-families/health-insurance-marketplace/
Bridgercare, Community Health Partners, and Gallatin City-County Health Department have Certified Application Counselors on staff to help patients and community members understand the Affordable Care Act and assist in navigating the health care marketplace. This service is free and available to the community as a way to encourage the residents of Gallatin County to invest in their health. There is no special enrollment period for Medicaid, so applications can be submitted at any time.
More information can be found at here or by contacting:
CHP Belgrade, 922-0820
CHP Bozeman, 585-1360
CHP Livingston, 222-1111
Gallatin City-County Health Dept, 582-3100
2) The U.S. must invest more in health and prevention. Seventy-five percent of our health care costs are related to preventable conditions like obesity, tobacco use and unsafe sex practices.4 Yet less than 3 percent of our health care spending is focused on prevention.5 Prevention investments are more than a smart use of public dollars — they also save lives. In fact, every 10 percent increase in funding for community-based health programs is estimated to reduce deaths due to preventable causes by up to 7 percent.
3) Health disparities exist among numerous populations. Health inequities related to income and access to insurance exist across demographic lines, but population-based disparities are impossible to deny. For example, black women are more than twice as likely to die during pregnancy compared to white women,7 and Hispanics are 65 percent more likely to have diabetes than whites.8
On a local level: The Community Health Improvement Plan has become a community owned work plan to help address health issues and disparities in Gallatin County. Through collaborative efforts with community partners, we are working to address issues like:
Improving access to care; specifically decreasing the percentage of uninsured individuals in Gallatin County, improving transportation services to rural areas, and promoting preventive screening services
Reducing the negative impacts of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
Promoting healthy lifestyles through nutrition and physical activity
Community Health Partners, in collaboration with the Montana State University INBRE program, recently received funding from the Montana Healthcare Foundation to design and implement a Promotoras program (promoters of health). Promotoras is an evidence-based model where lay members of the community collaborate with local health care providers to bridge the gap between vulnerable populations and quality health care/community resources. Promotoras are trusted members of their community and provide culturally appropriate services for their peers. This program will work extensively to address population-based health disparities in the Belgrade and West Yellowstone areas. For more information, contact CHP at (406)924-5751.
1 APHA: The Prevention and Public Health Fund Issue Brief, June 2012
4 APHA: Prevention and Public Health Fund